Medellin, the second biggest city in Colombia, has recently been named the “most innovative city” in the world, beating New York and Tel Aviv in the running. The Urban Land Institute said Medellin had seen one of the most dramatically urban transformations in modern history, praising its environmental policies and network of public parks and libraries, museums, schools and efficient metro and cable car system, allowing people from the poorer hillside neighborhoods to easily access the city center.

Volunteer in Medellin Colombia, the most innovative city in the world!

Medellin, which used to have the reputation as the most violent city when it was in the grips of Pablo Escobar’s drug cartel, is effectively rehabilitating its image since the dark 90’s. These days, the city is a fantastic place to visit and as safe and cosmopolitan as the rest of Latin American’s major cities. Of course, like any big city, there are parts that you’d rather avoid, and it’s generally advised to use your common sense and keep a low profile, i.e. not flaunting expensive jewelry or electronic gadgets when out and about.

However, in spite of all the progress, Medellin has not been able to cast off all its past challenges. There are still many children that are affected by poverty, addiction, violence and social exclusion. Volunteer Work Latin America, who has been offering volunteer placements to volunteer in Colombia for nearly a decade, is working closely together with a local community foundation that guides street children in Medellin with the process of acquiring the skills and belief to successfully integrate in society. This remarkable volunteer project in Medellin empowers children by removing barriers through participation in sports, recreational, cultural and educational activities.

To get a good idea of how the projects are run, watch this video of the children having fun at music class and playing football:

Several children who have participated in the programs are teenagers now and studying or have already finished their studies and are supporting their families. Due to the great popularity of the different programs, it is not always possible to invite everybody as the groups get too large.

With you as a volunteer in this project for streetkids in Colombia more children can participate in the activities of the foundation and therefore more children will have a chance of a better future. If you have any questions and are interested in supporting this professionally run volunteer project in Colombia, please contact VLA.

Additional info about the program can be found on the website, and previous blog entries: interview with the program director and a testimonial by a previous volunteer in Medellin.

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